Transformers (2007)


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I went into this movie expecting the worst; after all, I figured it was just another comic book action flick. Which it was – but it was a well-done, comic book action flick.

And the action starts right off the bat, rarely letting up. The movie clocks in at 2 hours and 24 minutes, but you hardly notice. The transformations were quite impressive – and often. I have read critics claim that this aspect was over done, something I disagree with. After all, that is what the whole movie was about and skimping on the effects would have killed the spirit of the thing.

The casting is good, the story is good enough to carry (I have no idea if it is true to the original series) – the effects are fun & fantastic (did I mention that already?) My only complaint is that after the big finish, we get another finish with voice over narration that is a bit cheesy. Five minutes out of 144 – I can live with that.

I can give this 4.5 stars because, despite the explosive action, there is little to no blood. One or two slightly off color jokes. I think Mom could even watch this and get a chuckle. I am not a big Michael Bay fan, but this one works.

Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing critics 59%; users 84%
(I think the critics missed the point of a movie like this)

Case in point, the New York Times – I don’t think he saw the same movie I did. For instance:

The result is part car commercial, part military recruitment ad, a bumper-to-bumper pileup of big cars, big guns and, as befits its recently weaned target demographic, big breasts. [I don’t usually miss big breasts but, though the girls were hot, I don’t remember big breasts]

There, under the desert sun, muscly, sweaty military types clash with an ominous helicopter that converts into a mysteriously angry critter with an articulated tail like that of a scorpion. [As I remember it, two different robots in two different battles]

And on it goes – I wholeheartedly disagree and wonder what trailer he based his review on.

Music & Lyrics (2007)


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Music & Lyrics

Music & Lyrics

Alex Fletcher (Hugh Grant) is a cynical and self-deprecating former pop idol (the hilarious opening video introduces his ’80s new wave band Pop!) who is now playing the nostalgia circuit, but has maintained enough dignity to turn down an appearance on a “Battle of the ’80s Has-Beens” TV reality show.

Sweet and saccharine, pedestrian and pedantic. Yet, Grant and Barrymore are quite charming enough to pull it off.

Only 3 stars because it is completely a chick-flick. I watched this one a while ago, and I don’t think D watched it with me. I am fairly certain he would have rolled his eyes a time or two. However, if you enjoy romantic comedy (or Hugh Grant in tight pants) you will be glad you rented this one.

I mean, who doesn’t want some love and romance, especially if it’s indulgent and totally unbelievable?
~ Toddy Burton, Austin Chronicle

I should mention that for a movie about music, the tunes are pretty lame.

Rotten Tomatoes: critics 64%; users 78%

Shooter (2007)


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A marksman (Wahlberg) living in exile is coaxed back into action after learning of a plot to kill the president. Ultimately double-crossed and framed for the attempt, he goes on the run to track the real killer and find out who exactly set him up, and why.

Another movie with a high body count. And, speaking of bodies, Mark Wahlberg. C’mon, you know what I’m talking about. Relax boys, there’s something for you, too.

Not highbrow entertainment by a long shot, but it delivers exactly what you expect it to. Lots of shooting, a few explosions, some bad guys and some good looking actors.

The movie’s politics may miss their mark, but its thrills are dead-on.
~ Peter Debruge, Miami Herald

(Another movie where the hero doesn’t hurt any good guys. I thought he was, but D pointed out the section I missed, they had made a point of the fact that a plane load of mercenaries was coming in)

Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing: critics 49%; users 75%

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)


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Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard

In a movie season filled with CGI fantasy, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD gets real; with real action, real humor, and the reprise of a beloved and iconic character: John McClane.

If you don’t like action movies, skip this one. If you are an action junkie, this one is for you.

If you liked the original Die Hard, even if you were disappointed by the sequels, you should be quite happy with this one. They’ve brought back the humor of the original, and given us more of the action. Bruce Willis‘ John McClane may have a little less hair, but he is still a serious bad@$$.

The casting was done really well in this film.
Justin Long rings true (and humorous) as his computer hacker charge/side-kick.
Timothy Olyphant is a great bad guy.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead was a great choice as daughter Lucy. She is believable as the offspring of Bonnie Bedelia/ Holly Gennero, and she carries off the attitude of McClane.
And, of course, I always enjoy a Kevin Smith siting.

I would probably give this another star if I had more friends who like action flicks. Mom doesn’t really get into a high body count. 😉

(I noticed in this flick that they made very sure to let us know that the only good guy who engages McClane in a clash, lives to fight another day.)

Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing: Critics 77%; Users 95%

1408 (2007)


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The only demons in room 1408 are those within you. Renowned horror novelist Mike Enslin (Cusack) only believes what he can see with his own two eyes.

D and I caught an early showing of this creep-fest today. Actually, there was some discussion of seeing Evan Almighty, but he made the (wise, as it turns out) choice of Cusack over Carrell.

My usual complaint with Stephen King’s books, and by extension his movies, is his need to wrap up everything neatly. He ties everything together and delivers you a tidy package. For instance, in The Green Mile, the bad guy isn’t just a very bad man, he ends up being the very bad man. The narrator ends up giving us a little synopsis, as well, just in case anything slipped by us. That is true of almost all of his stuff that I can think of.

Not so with 1408, and that is a very good thing. I don’t know whether the credit goes to King, to the screenwriter, or to the director. Whoever it was kept this really creepy movie . . . well . . . really creepy.

Fans of Samuel L Jackson who are hoping to see him do his stuff will be disappointed, he is in only 2 or 3 short scenes. This one is all Cusack, and he owns it.

My one casting complaint is Mary McCormack as his wife, Lily. She appears to have done something to her upper lip leaving it swollen and stiff. Very distracting during her scenes.

Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing: critics 77%, users 88%

Happily N’Ever After (2006)


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Happily N'Ever After

Happily N’Ever After


Bad, bad.

For those who couldn’t get enough of SHREK, HAPPILY N’EVER AFTER supplies a similar take on fairy-tale traditions.

Yeah, right. They wish it had anything in common with Shrek.

It gets one star because you could probably use it to keep your toddler distracted for a few minutes.

Rotten Tomatoes: critics 4%; users 21%;

Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)


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Pan’s Labyrinth

In 1944 fascist Spain, a girl, fascinated with fairy-tales, is sent along with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. During the night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun in the center of the labyrinth. He tells her she’s a princess, but must prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks. If she fails, she will never prove herself to be the the true princess and will never see her real father, the king, again.

Beautiful, captivating, mesmerizing . . . and a story, as well.

The subtitles were a bit of a distraction since the images were so amazing. Like with Amelie, I hated to look away from the picture to catch the dialog.

The movie is not, however, all fairies and bows and butterflies. It has serious brutality, which is why it loses a star. I am not sure this is a movie I would recommend to my sister, for instance.

This movie is much like Life is Beautiful, involving a fantasy world which helps a child deal with a world which is frightening and harsh.

Rotten Tomatoes as of this writing: critics 96%; users 94%

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